Category Archives: Uncategorized

Becoming Unstuck

One of my favorite poems is “Desiderata” by Max Hermann. A childhood friend shared it with me during a particularly tumultuous period during our teenage years. There was a time when most of it was committed to memory, but this little bit always pops into my head:

“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

The universe is unfolding as it should. Fate. Things happening as they should. 2014 ended up with two major life changes, acting as bookends for the year. January brought a sudden move out the dark, miserable apartment I had spent six years living in, thanks to a carbon monoxide leak. The move to Jeff’s place happened quickly, swiftly, and months earlier than planned. Things (or fate) happen. I hadn’t planned on staying in that apartment for as long as I did, but I got stuck in that space. The move was like ripping a bandaid off. Little did I know that another very significant life change was coming.

When I reread “Desiderata” today to find the quote about the universe unfolding as it should, this relevant verse popped out at me:

“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

It was a good, but slower year for photography than 2013. Clients’ lives and businesses drastically changed, and I’m incredibly grateful for the work I did for Kerri Nelson Photography, OXO, City Year Boston, DRINKMaple, and Foodie Asylum. I’m really looking forward to what 2015 brings! I’ll be looking to book more food photography related jobs, events, and a few weddings either as a main or second shooter.

I’m also incredibly grateful for my career at 7News. My colleagues are a hilarious group of people who made me laugh every single day, which I’m so incredibly thankful for. We work together through holidays, elections, snow storms, sports victory parades, and the saddest, most heartbreaking stories imaginable. It’s an emotional struggle to do a job I love when those stories happen… I also never worried about losing my job to a computer system which consolidates jobs in the control room. (For non-TV industry folks, that computer technology resulted in massive layoffs over the past decade.)

2014 brought more opportunities to direct newscasts, which lead to a big promotion from an Associate Director to Newscast Director. It’s what I aimed for since college, and it came with a significant pay raise.

A little over a month after I was officially promoted, and just shy of my 13th work anniversary, I gave my two week notice.

In between interviewing for the promotion and it being offered, I was contacted by Emerson College about an opportunity to manage their journalism production center. I love directing television, so accepting the offer was a somewhat difficult decision to make. The studios at Emerson use completely different technology from 7News, so there’s a lot to learn. After working at the same place for 13 years, a fresh new challenge is exciting. I can go back to school and earn my master’s degree without going massively into debt. TV news is a 24/7 type of industry, so normal hours and having weekends and holidays off was a lure. I believe today is the first New Years Day I’ve had off, and I never got home for more than a day or two around Christmas. Thanksgiving? Forget about it. I spent the past 12 Thanksgivings with my 7News family.

Honestly, I had been contemplating what would be next in my career for quite some time, but nothing other than directing TV felt right. But the gut feeling I had while interviewing at Emerson was too strong to ignore. With a more predictable schedule, I can build up my photography business a bit more and hope to freelance in the TV business around town. I’m not putting my headset down for good!

“…the universe is unfolding as it should.”

  Happy New Year!

TV Control Room

 

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to have a backyard again… After spending years living in brick apartment buildings, I’ve been soaking up every second I can outside! It feels like a luxury being able to sit under a tree with a book without having to get in my car and drive to a park. Jeff and I have also been learning how to grill! He found a perfectly good Weber grill on Craigslist, cleaned it up, and we’ve been grilling up burgers and veggies over the past few weeks.

Our friends Kelly and Pat came to visit from Toronto this past weekend. Kelly is one of my nearest and dearest friends in the world, and her culinary knowledge and talent never ceases to amaze me! Before I met Kelly, the only green vegetable I ate was iceberg lettuce. So I blame my current, much, MUCH more sophisticated palate on her. 😉

Her visit coincided with an invitation from OXO to participate in their #WhatAGrillWants blogger campaign, which was perfect because Jeff and I invited a bunch of people over for a cookout. OXO sent a bunch of new grilling tools to try out – a bladed meat tenderizer, a little salad dressing shaker, a corn stripper, a silicone basting brush, and 16 inch tongs.

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

I’m not quite sure what Kelly and Jeff are thumb wrestling over, but it was a fun moment in the kitchen as we prepared everything for the grill! Using a bladed meat tenderizer was interesting… I grew up with my mom and grandmother using a fork to do it, so I wasn’t quite sure how beneficial this tool would be. With 50 blades in the OXO bladed meat tenderizer, we sure saved some time! This tool is used like a stamp, and you have to push down really hard to get the blades through the meat. (With 50 blades in a tool, I’m GLAD it takes some muscle to press it down!)

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

OXO also sent a super cute and handy little salad dressing shaker, which we used to make a marinade for the pork.

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

I love this salad dressing shaker! You can’t really see it in the photo, but one side of the cup has measuring lines for cups, and the other has lines for ounces. And the cap has an airtight, leakproof seal, so it’s perfect for shaking up salad dressings or marinades. I wouldn’t hesitate bringing this to other cookouts or picnics!

While the pork marinaded, I decided to throw together a Cajun-style grilled corn salad. I looooove Mexican-style corn on the cob, but don’t really enjoy the mess that comes along with eating it. And I’ve been dying to use this delicious Cajun spice blend I picked up at the New Orleans School of Cooking during a recent vacation.

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Onto the grill the corn went. We turned the corn every couple of minutes, and left them on the grill just long enough to get a nice, charred look. The OXO tongs came in really handy here – the tips don’t have sharp edges like a lot of other grill tools, so later on when we grilled other veggies wrapped in foil, Jeff didn’t accidentally poke holes through the foil with the tongs.

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Then we got to use my favorite tool out of the whole kit – the corn stripper. This tool is so easy to use! There’s a blade on the bottom, which cuts the kernels off the cob, and they collect inside a little cup attached to it instead of spilling all over the place.

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWantsOnce all the kernels were shed, I mixed in cheese, a tiny bit of mayonnaise, garlic, the Cajun spice mix, and some fresh green onions from our garden to create the corn salad. You can get the recipe at the bottom of this post! It’s a super easy cookout recipe everyone will love. It can be served warm right off the grill or chilled. I made a little more this week with an ear of leftover corn, and tossed it in with a regular salad. So good!

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Anyway, the tongs came in handy again when it was time to put the pork on the grill. The basting brush was pretty cool to use as well – there are gaps in the center bristles that trap liquids, so we were able to spread a lot more marinade on the roasts.

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

It was so fun cooking outside with wonderful friends we don’t get to see very often. It’s just what we do. 🙂 Thanks to OXO for making our cookout a little more fun and easy!

Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad - OXO #WhatAGrillWants

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for OXO, and I received the grill tools from them for free. No other compensation was provided, and opinions here are my own.

3.0 from 1 reviews
Cajun-Style Grilled Corn Salad
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil (for the grill)
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Cajun spice blend (or chili powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • green onions, sliced thin
  • 6 large ears of corn, husks removed
Instructions
  1. Turn all the burners on high and allow the grill to become very hot.
  2. Once you scrape the grate clean, oil it by dipping a paper towel in vegetable oil. Use tongs to oil the grate!
  3. Place the ears of corn on the grill, turning them every 2 minutes or so until the kernels start to char.
  4. Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, Cajun spice mix (or chili powder), black pepper, and salt.
  5. When the corn is done, allow to cool for a few minutes. Using the OXO corn stripper, remove the kernels from the cob and empty the container into a medium mixing bowl.
  6. Toss in the cheese, mayo, and spice mixture and mix until the corn kernels are coated. Top with green onions, to taste.

 

Married: Jenn and Eric at Bittersweet Farm

Boston Wedding Photographers

Boston Wedding Photographers

Boston Wedding Photographers

Boston Wedding Photographer

Boston Wedding Photographers

Boston Wedding Photographers

Boston Wedding Photographers

Last month, I had the pleasure of photographing Jenn and Eric’s special day at Bittersweet Farm in Westport, MA. I randomly met Jenn last year at Travessia Urban Winery, and was so excited when she asked me to photograph their wedding! Congratulations, Eric and Jenn!

Food Blog Forum Orlando 2013 – Recap Part 1

I spent last weekend at the Food Blog Forum in Walt Disney World, surrounded by 125 other talented, fun, energetic folks. I arrived at the Grand Floridian a little too late to meet up with Kasey from Kasey’s Kitchen (a fellow broadcast journalism alum from Emerson!) at Epcot, but had plenty of time to wander the resort and eventually settle down with a book on the balcony of the hotel room. I honestly don’t remember the last time I sat outside with nothing to do and just read a book… It’s one of those simple pleasures – nowhere to rush off to, no loud noise, no negativity, no distractions, and plenty of sunshine and warmth… An hour of that was exactly what I needed after weeks of non-stop work. The introvert in me really, really needed it…

 

Hotel Resorts at Walt Disney World

Over the past few years, I’ve really been pushing myself to attend events on my own and meet new people. I find the more I put myself in these kinds of situations, the easier it becomes. While I can’t say the welcome reception on Friday night was a breeze, the mojitos and delicious food helped quite a bit. 😉 I was also really excited to see Diane Cu and Todd Porter, as well as Julie from The Little Kitchen. I met them last May during one of Todd and Diane’s photography workshops.

Following the reception, I headed over to Splitsville in Downtown Disney. The kind folks at Disney invited myself and a few other bloggers to go bowling and try out their menu. I really liked the set up – the lanes are set up in groups of four rather than one huge, long row you typically see at bowling alleys.

Food Blog Forum

Bowling at Disney WorldWe had so much fun – it was a great opportunity to meet and get to know other bloggers attending the conference, and enjoy some nachos, fries, salads, and sushi. Yes, sushi. At a bowling alley. And it was good!

Bowling in Disney World Orlando

Where to get sushi in Disney World

Having met each other, and wanting to take full advantage of our 3-day pass to the parks, Katie, her husband Jon, Amy, and I headed over to the Magic Kingdom. While they enjoyed Splash Mountain, I discovered what all the fuss was about Dole Whip. Pineapple flavored frozen yogurt on a hot, humid day? Yes, please! We also caught the Electrical Parade.

Electrical Parade

The next day started early with helping to finish packing swag bags for conference attendees. Holy swag bag! Julie was *NOT* kidding when she said we’d need an extra bag to take stuff home in! The sponsors of this event were so generous, providing us with snacks, stainless steel water bottles and brushes to clean them, ice cream scoops, spatulas, “Got Milk?” aprons, a beautiful cheese board, and a lot more. Thank you so much to KitchenAid, OXO, Florida Dairy Farmers, Cabot Cheese, America’s Test Kitchen, and everyone else!

After breakfast and a little more networking, we all settled in to learn from a variety of speakers. Scott and Jayden Hair of Steamy Kitchen struck a chord with me right away. They spoke about redefining success and setting goals.

  • When it comes to blogging, put yourself out there – it’s about storytelling. Get specific – what changed your life? Met a new friend? Shared a meal? It’s about showing community and emotion.

Okay, this one scares me a bit. Publishing something on any form of social media is like standing on a cafeteria table and shouting it out to an enormous crowd. I have no problem doing that for brands, events, or organizations, but I hold back with my personal life. Not that I would want to share every single nitty gritty detail, but I do need to be more open in this space. It’s not just “hey, here’s the most recent client project I completed”. It’s about the who, what, where, when, and most importantly why.

  • On defining goals and success: Always start with the emotion you are trying to achieve. What will ____ give me? Power? Freedom? Opportunity? Emotion needs to be the cornerstone. Make memories. Life changes when you change focus.

I’ve been living in the same city for 15 years. I’ve been working for the same company for the past 11 years. (I’m very lucky and fortunate for that, but…11 years?! Already?!?!??) I’ve been trying to figure out what’s next this entire time. Goals have changed many times, but I’ve remained in the same place.

  • Law of Attraction: People who are always happy seem to have great things that come to them. Choose the emotional state you want to be in. We are products of our environment.

My full time job is in the news business. It’s really, really difficult to be happy all the time when 8 hours of the day is saturated by stories like the Oklahoma tornado tragedy, the Jodi Arias sentencing watch, more Boston Marathon bombing related news, and a crazy, crazy attack on a military personnel member in London. (And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on in the world today.) But that’s the nature of the industry I sought a career in. And while I try hard to block the negativity out when I’m not working, the exhaustion from so much negativity sometimes it spills over… (Any advice on this??)

Up next was a session with Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple. Since I took a workshop with them last year, this session was an excellent reinforcement of everything I learned.

White on Rice Couple

  • Look beyond the obvious – why are you sharing? What is the story?
  • Meaning of food- feeding, nourishing, sharing – what does it mean to you?
  • Be inspired by someone else’s story.
  • Take a moment to think.
  • “Your eyes are your lens, your heart is the shutter.”

Being a photographer, I can’t think of another appropriate moment to wrap this post up! Recap, part 2 – more Disney, new blogger friends, and more food – will be coming soon!

Food Blog Forum at Walt Disney World 2013

Big Group Shot!!! Photo Credit: Jennifer Holt of Walt Disney World

My home… #BostonStrong – The Week That Was The Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Memorial sign

Boston Marathon Memorial

This post is incredibly insignificant compared to the stories and ordeals of others…

I just need to write… Need to put words and images somewhere…

Monday, April 15th was the last day of a two week vacation. It was going to be a fun day – brunch and drinks downtown with friends at The Pour House, a little marathon spectating and cheering, and then returning home to work on a food photography project. But I felt a need to get my client’s project started early that morning. I texted my friends, telling them to enjoy a few beers for me. I was sad to miss cheering the runners down the final stretch of Boylston Street… After all, it’s tradition.

After wrapping up in the early afternoon, I logged onto Twitter and learned about what happened. My heart leapt into my throat and felt sick to my stomach. My friends – women who I consider my sisters – had moved to a hotel bar closer to the finish line. Luckily, they were in the back of the bar and ran out the emergency exit when they heard the explosions. Some other friends were volunteering somewhere after the finish line, and one by one they checked in on Facebook – they were okay. Then I learned an acquaintance was mere feet away from the bomb in front of Marathon Sports. How he escaped without a physical scratch, we’ll never know.

I sat in my apartment, glued to my television. I was scared for my co-workers… My full time job is with a local news station, WHDH-TV. I bounce back and forth between the director and assistant director chairs. That day, a photographer was on the media bridge over the finish line and caught the first explosion on camera. Several reporters were at the scene… I was scared for them. But that feeling was nothing compared to what the rest of the week had in store.

Non-stop news coverage. Images flying in from the scene. Press conferences, video of the explosion playing over and over and over again, victims being wheeled away… Images of those who lost their lives… Tears… Chaos and yelling in the control room. Friends of friends knew the people who died… Too close… “Hi Uncle Al! I’m on the air right now, can’t talk, I’m fine, I’ll call you later, okay?”… A lot of chaos and yelling in the control room. Oh, hey there friendly neighborhood snipers, dressed in black and holding automatic rifles of some sort! Thanks for keeping us safe! Live coverage of President Obama’s visit. Interfaith service broadcast. Boston Strong. More press conferences. The world’s eyes on our beloved city…

Thursday evening came. I met a friend for a drink. A drink turned into several drinks, making some new friends at the bar, and celebrating one of their birthdays. A beautiful occasion worth celebrating and being happy about! I got home and fell asleep at midnight.

2:30 AM, a text from my friend Sophia in Los Angeles woke me up: “Thinking of you… Hope you’re doing okay. Let’s talk soon”. She had checked in earlier in the week…maybe this was a drunk text? Nah, she’s not that type. Still weird though. I turned over and closed my eyes. My phone beeped again. Another text from my friend Jack in Los Angeles: “WHAT IS GOING ON IN BOSTON?! ARE YOU OKAY?!?!”. I leapt out of bed and turned on the news, only to see my co-worker caught in the middle of gunfire with the bombing suspects. One suspect died. I was shaking.

Watertown, MA. One friend had FBI agents on his lawn and saw a huge spotlight shining into the house across the street. More friends live a few blocks away from the gunfight. My boyfriend heard the gun shots, and he lives a town over. It was a sleepless night. I got to work at 6:30 AM.

Our reporter who had bullets whiz by his head was still on the air. More reporters were out there. Every law enforcement agency was out there. Putting reporters on the air, one by one, summarizing the scenes. Swat teams surround a garage right next to a reporter while they are on the air. Me: “Oh God…um…can we keep the suspects photos in…in preview…just in case…” I swallowed hard. That was the most terrifying moment in my television career. There was no knowing if the suspect was actually in there…and if he was, what he would do…

Rotate in and out of the director chair with co-workers for hours. Please, please, please, don’t let anything bad happen out there… Things started quieting down around 7PM… The lock down was lifted… I started thinking about going home, but then the suspect was found hiding in a boat. In Watertown. Gun fire. Reporters and photographers in danger again.

And then it was over. Relief. As I left work, the streets were still very quiet. I walked past a police station, as the guys were starting to pull in from Watertown. “Thank you so much for everything you did this week…” One officer could only give a tired, weary smile, and a nod. The other rejoiced that he could finally go home and made a bee line for his car. Another mentioned where they were all going drinking. They, along with all the EMT’s and folks at local hospitals, deserve all the beers in the world.

Jeff had a bottle of wine waiting for me when I got home. And I broke down the second I closed the door. The city I lived in for 15 years…the innocent people who are recovering and learning to manage the difficult memories…there are so many amazing stories emerging about them…my co-workers out there in the middle of it all…my friends who live in and around Watertown…the images all flying in at the same time, and choosing which ones you the viewers see at home…

Bad dreams. Dreams woke me every hour or so for a few nights. If I’m experiencing that, I can’t begin to imagine what others are experiencing… *BIG HUGS TO YOU*

I visited the memorial on Monday… Took it all in… The media presence, the barricades, the empty street, the notes, sneakers, marathon medals, trinkets… I walked down Newbury Street, which runs parallel to Boylston. It was nearly empty of pedestrians. Smaller memorials at the cross streets… Niketown, completely covered in messages written with chalk… The messages from all around the world… Heartwarming and comforting.

We were shaken, but not broken. We are Boston. We are one. And no one messes with our f-ing city.

Boylston Street Reopens

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Boston Strong

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorials

Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Bombing

Say it ain’t true, Sel de la Terre!

 

 

Sel de la Terre

Photo taken with my iPhone

Nooooooo… 🙁 Excuse me while I pout for a minute… One of my favorite restaurants closed their last Boston location. Sel de la Terre had the best burger and chocolate molten cake… (Healthy. 😉 ) I enjoyed a wonderful brunch there with college friends who came back to town one weekend, and took Jeff there for a 4-course food and beer pairing on his birthday…

Sadness.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013!!! I hope you had a wonderful time on Monday night! I rang in the new year with some of my favorite people.

NYE at The Burren in Somerville, MA

Photo from Annette’s Instagram account. Thanks, Annette!

NYE at The Burren in Somerville, MA

Back in November, I reflected on the past year and how grateful I am for supportive friends and family, and how my photography business grew in such a short amount of time. This site isn’t even a year old yet, and I’m still a bit speechless over the wonderful clients and opportunities that came along. So where will it go from here?

I hope to double the amount of clients I work with. I love working with restaurants and small businesses – it never feels like work and I love seeing them happy with the results! It’s fun helping clients promote their products and business. I also photographed some awesome events, and look forward to working with those organizations again in 2013. I already booked a new client and can’t wait to photograph their Valentine’s Day chocolate collection.

I hope to complete my camera kit. I upgraded my gear a few months ago, but still need to purchase a flash and another lens. Okay, maybe two lenses. And another camera body. I don’t want to drop a lot of money on rentals, and there’s only so many times Jeff is going to let me borrow his. 😉

I will learn how to shoot video on my DSLR. Work got so busy, I never got a chance to play around with shooting video with my new camera! I’ve worked in TV for almost 11 years, so I’m excited to start offering another service to clients.

I hope to be in a position to rent a studio space by the end of 2013. Right now I work on location, and work on personal projects in my living room. Food photography props are neatly tucked away all over my apartment. It would be nice to have them organized in one place that doesn’t take up my actual living space. I’d love to work in a studio space filled with sunlight. (I sit in a dark room all day at my 9-5 job. I need more vitamin D in my life!)

 

Let’s see, what else… Last year my personal goals were to double the amount of money I put into my savings account each month. Done. I wanted to cook more instead of eating frozen meals. Done. Every year I say I want to run a 5k and never do. I did it a few weeks ago, and managed not to re-injure my knee. Yay!

Somerville Jingle Bell Run 2012

Somerville Jingle Bell Run 2012

The resolution I failed miserably at? Calling friends who live far away more often. I don’t know what happened. (I’m sorry!!! 🙁  ) We exchanged emails and Facebook messages, and I visited a few in Los Angeles earlier this year… But I need to pick up the phone more often. Or get out of the dark ages and use Skype more. Or Google+ chat…or something.

So this year I will pick up the phone more often. I will cook at home even more instead of eating out. Even though my rent is about to go up a lot, I will keep saving money.

So what are your goals and resolutions this year? Any big, exciting projects or trips coming up?

Taking a moment…

It doesn’t feel right to move forward with new posts without acknowledging the events of last Friday in CT… Working in the news biz, we knew how bad it was before media outlets started reporting it… Later in the day, a close friend commented that she doesn’t know how I do it, putting news like that on the air without losing it. Honestly, I’m not sure. After years of being in a control room, you learn how to shut off most emotions and focus on doing the job at hand – there’s time to think, feel and reflect after your shift is done.

Tears came to my eyes several times throughout the weekend. As someone who lost classmates to brutal violence in elementary school, my heart goes out to the children in Newtown, CT… The fear, confusion, and uncertainty those children are experiencing is something no one should ever have to face. I’m sure many adults and children feel completely helpless, but all you can do is embrace and comfort each other, and have faith everything will someday be okay.

 

Ritz in a Box

With a bunch of important events coming up to photograph, I rented a lens from LensProToGo. While testing it out last night, a certain little someone decided to fall asleep in the box the lens was shipped in. So here’s your moment of cuteness for the day, which was taken right before Ritz’s eyes closed!

 

Cat in a box

On Being Thankful…

Thanksgiving ends up being a reflective time for me. I think about all that’s happened this year, where I was last year, and where I was five years ago at this time. It’s been an incredible journey, and I have so much to be thankful for.

Photography took on a whole new meaning. It’s been a long time hobby – simple snapshots, to learning how to develop black and white film, to having solo coffee shop shows, and participating in group shows with a magnificent group of artists. I hate to admit this, but my camera sat around collecting dust for awhile until the birth of my friends’ son. A beautiful, joyful little boy was born in January and my friends Colleen and Tim asked me to photograph the new addition to their family. The experience provided a much needed kick in the ass burst of inspiration, and for that I’m thankful.

When Pinterest came into our daily social media mix, and I became increasingly inspired by all the beautiful photos of home improvement projects and recipes. Oh, the recipes… I’m not going to qualify for MasterChef any time soon, but I do enjoy creating delicious meals. Why not photograph them?

I began to play – I started to referring to photography as “play”. I discovered food blogs. Holy black hole of time consumption? Nah. I quickly became a regular follower of a few blogs and learned from them, but one in particular changed everything – I followed my gut when a special opportunity arose. Thank you, Diane and Todd! *HUGS*

I’m thankful for the amazing clients I worked with this year. I had so much fun working with all of you and look forward to working with you again! And I’m forever grateful for my parents and friends. Mom, thank you for always being surprised that I’m earning money through photography. (“And they paid you?!?!”) I’m not quite used to it either, and your reaction always makes me smile. (“Yes, Mom – Really – I got paid!”) Jeff, thank you for constantly pushing and encouraging me to take leaps of faith. Amy, thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me land my first food photography client. And to my “lil’ sis”, Maliha – thanks for keeping me in check and on my toes. 😉

This will be my 10th Thanksgiving that I’ll be working at the TV station rather than celebrating with my family. I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from my seat in the control room rather than a cozy couch. But I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with both Jeff’s family and my parents this weekend. Not being able to spend the actual day with my family usually bothers me a lot, but this year is different for some reason. While my workplace provides a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner every year (for which I’m incredibly grateful – I can’t wait for apple pie!), I’m prepping a little comfort meal to have when I get home Thursday night.

I have a ton of squash sitting in my kitchen right now. (Yay, sales on locally grown food!) I’ve never cooked a carnival squash before, and need to use up a few things in my kitchen. So a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and ta da – baked squash! What to stuff it with… Oh, I have a ginormous bag of quinoa, leftover dried cranberries from a cookie recipe, some fresh rosemary, and a boatload of other dried herbs. Nothing says “fall” or “Thanksgiving” more than squash, cranberries, and herbs! I tried something new and used a different lighting set up in the photo below – I’m not 100% happy with it, but it was a good experiment. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Carnival Squash

Stuffed Carnival Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
I love this because it's so versatile. Sweet like a butternut squash, just about anything will taste delicious stuffed inside of a carnival squash. If I had some onion or celery on hand tonight, I would have added that in for extra flavor. Instead, I chose some generic veggie seasoning. The ingredient measurements are estimates - I eyeballed it.
Ingredients
  • 1 Carnival Squash
  • ¼ to ½ cup of cooked quinoa, depending on the size of the squash
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut off the top of the squash and take out all the seeds
  3. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and toss in a sprig of rosemary
  4. Fill a baking pan with ¼" water
  5. Place the squash cut side facing down in the pan
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes
  7. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa. Stir the dried cranberries (or other ingredients of your choosing) in when it is completely cooked.
  8. Remove the squash from the oven, stuff with the quinoa mixture, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1